Look closely at the photograph. Do you see the tiny trail in the sand? So much time making so many loops, but what was the destination or purpose of travel?
As our family walked along the beach one cool, cloudy morning my husband's keen eyesight spotted the trail with a perishing worm at one end. He quickly scooped up the little creature and deposited it in a shady area but it was probably too late to save its life - it had worn itself out seeking. The photograph of its wanderings was taken shortly after the attempted rescue. It intrigued me that the little thing would spend so much time and effort going in circles. The trail reminds me of the various ways we humans look for happiness, fulfillment, or even the meaning of life, and often miss the mark..
Proverbs 18:2 states, "A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself."
The Christian's goal is to glorify God in words, actions, and dress; our reward is eternal life. We are not to seek what will glorify ourselves, or get distracted looking for pleasures that capture our time and attention. That is not to say that we should not find pleasure in life, but that what we chose to do has to meet a certain criteria. What we chose to occupy our time with (books, music, games, TV, internet, etc.) all effect our ability to achieve our goal. Our choices either advance or hinder our character development.
Over the years we have gone through our house and weeded out videos, books, toys, clothing, etc. that God has prompted us is not the best for Christian development. Each time he draws us closer to His standard of purity. When shopping or visiting the library we now ask ourselves if what we are about to get will help us reach our goal.
Like the little worm we may spend time wandering from one activity to the next, traveling in circles never achieving a purpose. Or we may rightly use God's word to direct us in our choices. A wise king once wrote, "Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13
Fear God: have a healthy respect and reverence for the One who created us.
Keep His commandments: His law which is "holy, and just, and good."(Romans 7:12)
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.
18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
God's law is like a guardrail to keep us on the right path so we don't waste time going in circles in our Christian growth. Do the activities we choose so absorb our attention away from Godly things that we are making an idol out of them? Do they foster competition in our hearts as we try to be better than someone else instead of encouraging them on the right path? Perhaps they are seemingly innocent pleasures that distract us for a time away from something better. We need to filter our thoughts, activities, and dress through God's word, for this is the whole duty of man.